News » Archives » June 2009

Study describes promising approach to treating cancer-related anorexia

Author: William G. Gilroy

Rudolph M. Navari

A new study by Rudolph M. Navari, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Walther Cancer Research Center, and Marie C. Brenner, a Notre Dame graduate who is a student at Loyola University Medical School in Chicago, describes how a novel combination of two drugs continues to show great promise in treating cancer-related anorexia (CRA).

Fifty percent of patients with a new cancer diagnosis and up to 70 percent of patients with advanced cancers may experience anorexia.

In previous studies, Navari and researchers working with him have shown that the drug olanzapine was highly effective in controlling chemotherapy’s most common side effects.

Full story

Notre Dame to make $5.5 million in contributions to local communities over next 10 years

Author: Dennis Brown

Community Contributions Press Conference

The University of Notre Dame announced today that it plans to make voluntary contributions totaling $5.5 million over the next 10 years to the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, the town of Roseland and to St. Joseph County.

“From the Center for the Homeless and the Robinson Community Learning Center to forthcoming initiatives such as Innovation Park and the Eddy Street Commons, Notre Dame has a long history of lending its intellectual, financial and service assistance to the community in support of the common good,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University. “During these trying economic times, with our local governments facing extraordinary challenges, we hope that this direct financial contribution will have a positive impact on the local communities with which we have regular interaction.”

Full story

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering’s Schmiedeler to participate in U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Author: William G. Gilroy

James Schmiedeler

James Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, is one of 88 of the nation’s brightest young engineers who have been selected to take part in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 15th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

Engineers ages 30 to 45 who are performing exceptional engineering and technical work in a variety of disciplines will attend the event from Sept. 10 to 12 at the National Academies’ Beckman Center at the University of California, Irvine. The participants, who are drawn from academia, industry and government, were nominated by fellow engineers or organizations. The symposium participants will examine engineering tools for scientific discovery, engineering the health care delivery system, nano/micro photonics and new applications and resilient and sustainable infrastructures.

Full story

Notre Dame study describes evidence of world’s oldest known granaries

Author: William G. Gilroy

Ian Kuijt Research

A new study coauthored by Ian Kuijt, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, describes recent excavations in Jordan that reveal evidence of the world’s oldest known granaries. The appearance of the granaries represents a critical evolutionary shift in the relationship between people and plant foods.

Anthropologists consider food storage to be a vital component in the economic and social package that comprises the Neolithic period, contributing to plant domestication, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and new social organizations. It has traditionally been assumed that people only started to store significant amounts of food when plants were domesticated.

Full story

Notre Dame study provides insights into how climate change might impact species’ geographic ranges

Author: William G. Gilroy

Jessica Hellman butterfly

A new study by a team of researchers led by Jessica Hellmann, assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, offers interesting insights into how species may, or may not, change their geographic range — the place where they live on earth — under climate change. The lead author on the paper is recent Notre Dame doctoral degree recipient Shannon Pelini.

Researchers have hypothesized that populations near the northern boundaries of geographic ranges in the Northern Hemisphere would be pre-adapted to warming and thus will increase with warming, facilitating range expansions. However, the assumptions underlying this theory have not been previously tested. If these northern populations do not increase under warming, species may not track changing climatic conditions and instead decline under climate change.

Full story

Notre Dame surpasses $1.5 billion “Spirit” campaign goal

Author: Dennis Brown

Spirit campaign logo/Development

The University of Notre Dame has surpassed the $1.5 billion goal of the “Spirit of Notre Dame” campaign more than two years ahead of schedule, raising $1.54 billion in gifts and pledges as of June 22.

The largest fund-raising effort in the history of Catholic higher education, “Spirit” was launched publicly May 5, 2007, and will end June 30, 2011. The most comprehensive campaign in Notre Dame’s history, “Spirit” is structured to provide significant financial support to four primary pillars of the University’s life: the undergraduate educational experience, research and graduate studies, diversity and international studies, and Catholic intellectual life.

Full story

From Old 2 Gold raises $54,486 for local charities

Author: Shannon Chapla

Old 2 Gold

Forty participating local charities will share $54,486 raised at the fifth annual From Old 2 Gold sale May 23 in Notre Dame Stadium.

The event, which featured items left behind and donated by students, including electronics, clothing, computers, carpeting, furniture, appliances and sports equipment, attracted 5,200 shoppers, some 2,600 pounds of food were donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and an estimated 76.3 tons of items were diverted from area landfills.

Full story

Notre Dame launches innovative Video Channel

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Video channel

The University of Notre Dame has launched the Notre Dame Video Channel (, a place to watch stories, lectures and other content straight from the Notre Dame Web site, and a way for the University to archive and organize its rapidly growing video library.

“We knew going in when we designed our new Web site that video was key to the future of communications,” said Todd Woodward, associate vice president for marketing communications. “Since that time it’s only expanded and we always had planned that the next logical step would be to have a home for videos where people could come and learn about the University.”

Full story

Alliance for Catholic Education establishes special interest group for Catholic education

Author: Melissa Harraka

Alliance for Catholic Education

Rev. Ron Nuzzi, director of the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, and other ACE faculty members, in collaboration with several other universities, have established a new Catholic Education Special Interest Group (SIG) in the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

The group will convene international meetings of scholars and educators to discuss theoretical and practical aspects of Catholic schools and Catholic education. It will encourage and support increased collaboration among such scholars while promoting and disseminating new research in the field of Catholic education. It also will host a Web site and list-serve, publish a quarterly newsletter, and solicit proposals for presentation at the AERA.

Full story

Documents from a place where prayer has been valid

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Carmelite Monastery

There are places made sacred because of what has happened there, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Other places, like the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes here at Notre Dame, or Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, become sacred as thousands of people visit them to pray earnestly and passionately, places, to use T.S. Eliot’s phrase, “where prayer has been valid.”

In any event, as Mary Joe Weaver insists, “sacred space can be created.” Weaver, a professor of religious studies at Indiana University, makes that assertion in her remarkable 2002 book, “Cloister and Community: Life Within a Carmelite Monastery,” which began as an architectural history of the 80-year-old Carmelite monastery in Indianapolis and became a meditation on sacred space by way of an excursion through Carmelite spiritual life.

Full story

ND Expert: Netanyahu “closed door” to negotiations


Asher Kaufman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “half-hearted recognition” of a Palestinian state existing alongside a Jewish state certainly is a step forward, but “falls short of the minimal required conditions for resuming peace negotiations,” according to Asher Kaufman, University of Notre Dame professor of history and peace studies, whose areas of specialty include the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“More than a genuine change of policy, Netanyahu’s new views are a clear result of pressure exerted on him by the Obama administration. They reflect his realization that he needs to somehow appease the American administration while at the same time remain loyal to his own conservative worldview,” Kaufman says.

Full story

Center for Social Concerns researchers to study effects of religious belief

Author: Paul Horn

Are college students with strong spiritual and religious beliefs more apt to develop a strong sense of social responsibility and show compassion toward others? And do those who identify as religious minorities face greater spiritual challenges?

These are just two of the many questions that will be answered through new research being undertaken by staff members of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.

Full story

Neal to participate in Beijing lunar science workshop

Author: William G. Gilroy

Clive Neal

Clive R. Neal, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, is one of six U.S. planetary scientists invited to participate in a lunar science workshop scheduled for June 15 to 17 in Beijing.

The workshop is open to all Chinese scientists who are interested in planetary sciences and planetary exploration missions. It is cosponsored by the China Geological Survey, under the Ministry of Land and Resources of China, and the Lunar Exploration Program Center, under the China National Space Agency.

Full story

ND Experts: Strong sanctions needed against North Korea

Author: Joan Fallon

David Cortright and George Lopez

Tough new sanctions, which the United Nations Security Council is preparing to impose on North Korea as early as Friday (June 12), are a necessary response to that country’s repeated defiance of nuclear nonproliferation agreements and its underground nuclear test on May 25, said Notre Dame sanctions experts David Cortright and George A. Lopez.

“These sanctions have significantly more teeth than previous measures,” Cortright said. “The tightening of banking sanctions and a complete arms embargo are critical to denying North Korea a potentially lucrative source of revenue and keeping weapons and dangerous materials out of the hands of other actors.”

Full story

Three Kroc Institute scholars earn prestigious fellowships

Author: Joan Fallon

Kroc logo

Three scholars at the Univerisity of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies have won visiting fellowships for the 2009-10 academic year for research on Middle East conflict, economic sanctions and political reconciliation. They will spend the year in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

Asher Kaufman, assistant professor of history, received a Woodrow Wilson Center fellowship for his project “Contested Frontiers: Conflict and Potential Resolution in the Syria, Lebanon, Israel Tri-Border Region.” He joins 23 other Woodrow Wilson fellows from the United States, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

Full story

New study describes risk of mobile phone virus attacks

Author: Marissa Runkle

mobile phone

Traditional cell phones have been immune to viruses because they lack standardized operating systems. However, as smart phones rapidly increase in market share, viruses pose a serious threat to mobile communications.

A new study in the journal Science that is coauthored by University of Notre Dame physics doctoral student Pu Wang and researchers from Northeastern University suggests that the risk of mobile phone virus attacks will increase as a few operating systems gain more market share. The study also analyzes the pattern and speed of the spread of infection for Bluetooth and multimedia messaging services (MMS). The researchers used anonymous billing records of 6.2 million mobile subscribers and tracked calling patterns using the location of the closest mobile phone tower.

Full story

ND theologian Father David Burrell receives John Courtney Murray Award

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. David B. Burrell, C.S.C.

Rev. David B. Burrell, C.S.C., Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, received the 2009 John Courtney Murray Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) at its annual meeting June 6 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The award, which is the CTSA’s highest honor, memorializes the most prominent American Catholic theologian at the Second Vatican Council, and a principal author of the Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitate Humanae), one of the council’s most important teaching documents.

Full story

Play Like a Champion conference to be held June 26-28

Author: Shannon Chapla

Play Like a Champion

The Play Like a Champion (PLC) program will hold its fourth annual National Sports Leadership Conference at the University of Notre Dame from June 26 to 28 (Friday to Sunday).

Leaders of Catholic and other youth sports programs from dozens of cities in the United States and Canada will gather on the Notre Dame campus to learn how to run coach and parent workshops in their homes dioceses, parishes, schools and local sports organizations. Educators, coaches, ethicists, professional athletes and theologians will lead discussions exploring the ways in which youth and high school sports can enhance the moral and spiritual growth of children and adolescents, offering an opportunity to learn the latest trends in sport-based character development and to network and share best practices with sports leaders across North America.

Full story

Notre Dame economist appointed senior VP for Federal Reserve

Author: Shannon Chapla

Christopher Waller

Christopher Waller, Gilbert Schaefer Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He will assume his new duties this month and return to Notre Dame after a two-year leave.

Waller’s main duties will be to oversee the research department and advise the bank president on policy. He also will participate in the Federal Open Market Committee meetings in Washington, D.C., which determine monetary policy regarding interest rates.

Full story

Professor Otto A. Bird, founder of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, dies

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Otto Bird

Otto A. Bird, the founder and first director of the General Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, died Friday (June 5). He was 94 years old.

Bird came to Notre Dame in 1950, invited by Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., then the University’s president, to establish a program of studies which would avoid narrow academic specialization while exposing students to the so called “Great Books,” the most important and formative intellectual products of Western civilization and thought.

Full story

ND Expert: President Obama’s speech surprisingly “tough-minded”


Scott Appleby

Though his speech to the Arab world on Thursday did mention past American failings – particularly the coup in Iran – President Obama stopped short of apologizing for those missteps.

“He didn’t hold out hope for reconciliation for past matters,” according to R. Scott Appleby, University of Notre Dame professor of history and director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Full story

Porod named senior fellow of Institute for Advanced Study

Author: William G. Gilroy and Nina Welding

Wolfgang Porod

Wolfgang Porod, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering and director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a Han Fischer Senior Fellow by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the Technische Universität München (TUM).

Researchers in the IAS-TUM oversee projects from engineering, science and the humanities. Fellowships are awarded based on the academic record of the honorees with regard to innovation and the promise of major academic or technological breakthrough. The Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship is named in honor of the TUM professor, who was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his pioneering efforts in hemoglobin.

Full story

ND Expert: 20 years after Tiananmen marks “tragic end of near triumphant struggle”


Lionel Jensen

For the families and friends left to mourn scores of innocent Chinese citizens who were slaughtered two decades ago in Tiananmen Square for calling for government reform, June 4 will be a day filled with anger, sadness and resentment. But there will be no memorial event marking that historic struggle.

“June 4 marks the tragic end of a near triumphant struggle of the Chinese people against a corrupt and illegitimate authoritarian state,” says Lionel Jensen, associate professor of East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Notre Dame.

Full story

Sexton appointed associate VP for public affairs

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Timothy Sexton

Timothy D. Sexton, most recently vice president for community development at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC) in South Bend, has been appointed associate vice president for public affairs at the University of Notre Dame. The appointment is effective June 29.

In his new role, Sexton will focus on state and local government and community relations and will serve as the primary liaison between community leaders and the University.

Full story

Economist's research sheds light on consumption patterns of nation's poor

Author: Katie Louvat

James X. Sullivan

The research of University of Notre Dame economist James X. Sullivan sheds light on how best to measure the well-being of the nation’s poorest families so policies can be crafted to help them.

An associate professor of economics, Sullivan has been interested in domestic poverty issues since he was an undergraduate economics major at Notre Dame. His research on the consumption, income and well-being of families headed by single mothers has been published in the American Economic Review (AER), one of the nation’s oldest scholarly journals in economics.

The paper, which Sullivan co-authored with Bruce D. Meyer, is titled “Changes in the Consumption, Income, and Well-Being of Single Mother Headed Families.”

Full story

Alumni Association launches Notre Dame alumnae group

Author: Angela Sienko

Alumni Association Logo

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association recently launched a new initiative called ND Women Connect, which provides opportunities for women graduates to enhance their personal and professional relationships and make valuable contributions to Notre Dame, their local communities and causes that inspire them.

ND Women Connect, which is facilitated through local Notre Dame clubs, currently has chapters located in Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago and Detroit.

Full story